cover

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Front Matter

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CONTENTS

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pp. v-vi

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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p. vii

The chapters appearing in this volume were first presented at the fifth annual conference on presidential rhetoric held at Texas A&M University’s Presidential Conference Center, March 4-7, 1999. These conferences are sponsored by the Program in Presidential Rhetoric, a research unit of the...

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Introduction The President as a Rhetorical Leader

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pp. 3-19

WHAT IS RHETORICAL leadership? At face value the term appears fairly straightforward: it is leadership exerted through talk or persuasion. This definition, however, masks the complexities and scope of rhetorical leadership. To best understand the nature of rhetorical leadership, its fundamental elements...

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CHAPTER 1 The Presidency Has Always Been a Place for Rhetorical Leadership

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pp. 20-41

AFTER HIS EXTENDED STAY at Camp David in July, 1979, Pres. Jimmy Carter delivered a speech in which he did not use the word “malaise.” However, in examining why national unity on energy policy seemed impossible, he spoke of a crisis of confidence. Early in the speech, he quoted advice he had received...

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CHAPTER 2 George Washington and the Rhetoric of Presidential Leadership

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pp. 42-72

HE FINAL YEAR of the twentieth century marked the bicentennial of the death of George Washington. He died on December 14, 1799, laid low by a streptococcal throat infection and the repeated bloodlettings that were a routine element of eighteenth-century medical science. His passing touched off a spectacle...

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CHAPTER 3 Classical Virtue and Presidential Fame

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pp. 73-94

ON MARCH 5, 1770, a squad of British soldiers stationed in Boston fired their muskets at a threatening crowd of citizens, killing five people. By the end of the next day the soldiers and their captain had retained as their attorney John Adams, one of the most respected Whig lawyers in the town. Reflecting on what...

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CHAPTER 4 Jefferson vs. Napoleon

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pp. 95-114

HISTORIANS AND BIOGRAPHERS of every generation have observed the many inconsistencies in Thomas Jefferson’s behavior as a public man.1 Most notable have been his shifts from a strict to a loose constructionist of the Constitution, from limiting the powers of the president to expanding them when...

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CHAPTER 5 Politics as Performance Art

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pp. 115-128

THEODORE ROOSEVELT was the one of the most effective communicators ever to occupy the White House, and one of the least impressive speakers. His high-pitched voice lacked timbre, melodiousness, and carrying power. He had an odd, almost violent way of clipping his words, snapping his teeth as though biting...

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CHAPTER 6 Presidential Leadership and National Identity

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pp. 129-144

ARMISTICE DAY, 1921. Six shining black horses, their hoofs muffled, pulled the caissons carrying the coffin of the Unknown Soldier down Pennsylvania Avenue. Leading the mourners was the president of the United States, Warren G. Harding, walking alongside General of the Armies John J. Pershing, erstwhile...

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CHAPTER 7 FDR at Gettysburg

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pp. 145-183

IN 1934 and again in 1938, Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt presented commemorative speeches on the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Roosevelt, who is perhaps second only to Abraham Lincoln as a canonically eloquent president, redefined the literature of...

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CHAPTER 8 The Hidden Hand vs. the Bully Pulpit

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pp. 184-199

IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, rhetoric has become an increasingly important factor in presidential leadership. In examining presidential rhetoric, scholars typically focus on public communications, particularly speeches and remarks made at press conferences. But much of the communication of chief executives goes on in...

CHAPTER 9 Ronald Reagan and the American Dream

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pp. 200-230

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CHAPTER 10

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pp. 231-251

IN THE MID-TWENTIETH CENTURY, the American presidency rose to great prestige. The popular, quiet leadership of Dwight Eisenhower navigated the turbulent postwar world, and the dynastic rhetoric of John Kennedy rang with Tennyson-like...

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Afterword Rhetorical Leadership and Presidential Performance

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pp. 252-256

LEADERSHIP REVOLVES around being rhetorical. Leaders do not command allegiance or direct action simply based on their status in some organization. Neither do they sustain converts or empower followers by some psychological or cosmological process that is beyond human ken. Leaders must actively engage in that...

CONTRIBUTORS

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pp. 257-260

INDEX

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pp. 261-270